Britny Fox
Springhead Motorshark
Spitfire Records
SPT 15105-2
Produced By: Tommy Paris & MK Smith

Running Time: 43.40

Release Date: Out Now

Released: US

Musical Style: Rock / Hard Rock

Links: Britny Fox
Songs: 45%
Sound: 60%
I was quite looking forward to the new Britny Fox album, even though I wouldn't consider myself a diehard fan. The band's first couple of records were good examples of US melodic metal before original singer Dean departed. With new singer Tommy Paris, the band recorded a third album before walking away. In 2000 they reformed and released the rather good Long Way To Live concert album. That's what sparked my renewed interest in the band along with thoughts of what they could come up with in the studio.
Sadly, I feel the result is largely disappointing. The band for whatever reason has decided to take the musically brave, bold and adventurous route, recording an album of songs that is directly in opposition to their usual style.
To successfully navigate this route, you need great songs and a fan base that is willing to move with you. Neither is the case here.
It's ok to update one's sound and try and appear more contemporary, but after a 12 year wait, I can't imagine many Britny Fox fans that would want anything other than a slamming hard rock record. This ain't it.
Listening to these songs it's hard to imagine who this will appeal to. I'm sure there are plenty of Fox fans that will love some moments, but not the album as a whole.
There are several problems. Several tracks are amazingly short 2.5 minutes, while there's another track that's an instrumental and another that's only a 1 minute guitar interlude. Furthermore, the lyric/vocal content on this album is minimal. Some tracks only have 10 and 12 lines of lyrics!
The band is relying on the music to do the talking, but it's far too diverse to succeed.
The opening track Pain is a crunchy heavy rocker with a solid riff it certainly gets things off to a positive start.
While second track Freaktown is catchy modern rocker, it has some annoying aspects to the chorus melody.
TLUC is fairly sparse lyrically, instead relying on the music to carry it. But the song just isn't strong enough. No big hook or chorus to sink one's teeth into.
LA is another track that has an interesting Beatle-esque piano verse, but launches into a simple and rather dull chorus.
Another question for the band - where are the hard edged guitar tones of previous records? Where are the solos and the big riffs?
The title track instrumental is an instant skip for me, but at least there's some guitar soloing in there.
The acoustic, uptempo pop ballad Is It Real is better catchier and features a better chorus.
Far Enough gets heavy finally, but I really don't think the lead vocals are very strong at all.
Lonely Ones is another about-face pop ballad. Interesting and more memorable, it's one of the better album tracks.
Memorial is another stronger track, with a tougher guitar sound, but still no big hooks.
Sri Lanka continues the stronger guitar approach, but is bland in places and bizarre in others. I have no idea why it has to run over 8 minutes in length.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately I have not warmed to this record at all. I have tried, having playing it more than several others currently up for review, but just don't think it's strong enough.
Regardless of the direction chosen by the band, the songs themselves are not memorable.
And I seriously have to question the thinking behind the style change. Yes, this is 2003, but to Britny Fox fans, this is the follow up to the band's last album in 1991.
Additionally, while energetic, the 3 bonus videos are only in Real Video format and are not the greatest of quality.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Britny Fox
Boys In Heat
Bite Down Hard
Long Way To Live!
The Best Of
Springhead Motorshark

Line Up
Tommy Paris: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Michael Kelly Smith: Guitar
Johnny Dee: Drums
Billy Childs: Bass

Essential for die hard fans of:
Britny Fox - Bite Down Hard
Track Listing
Springhead Motorshark
Is It Real?*
Coup D'etat
Far Enough
Lonely Ones*
Sri Lanka
Closer To Your Love (Video)
Long Way To Love (Video)
Dream On (Animated)(Video)
--*Best Tracks

24/09/03: Geoff -
Rating: 40
First track really says it all, hey? It's not too bad an album, I suppose, but it sure as hell isn't too good an album either. It's an awful Britny Fox album, that's for sure.

'Pain' has an okay riff, but a "please-stop-listening-now" kind of annoying chorus. The third track has great verses, but no chorus at all, 'Lonely Ones' is an okay tune, nice musically. Still not amazing, though, but a cool tune. The rest does absolutely nothing for me and will probably not warrant another listen for a very long time. Very dissapointing and quite a mess in terms of song writing.

24/08/03: Carl -
Rating: 4
I Have always been a fan of post-dean Britny, but this doesnt do much for me. There are a couple of good songs, but overall this is just NOT a very good album. Too many mellow tunes, too short, and TOO MANY instrumentals. I have to say save your money for Skid Rows new "THICKSKIN". Andrews rating on this one is spot on.

23/08/03: David Stone -
Rating: 80
At first I was a little disappointed in the new release from Britny Fox, but after a couple of listens it's grown on me.

I was never a big fan of Dizzy Dean but adding Tommy Paris in my opinion was the best move the band has ever made.

"Bite Down Hard" is still one of my favorite cd's and the new one while not as heavy as BDH still has some very good tracks.
"Freaktown" is my personal favorite, along with "Pain" and "TLUC".

The mix of the cd leaves alot to be desired and the drum triggers are a mistake, but most of the songs are gold.

I do wish Tommy would have added vocals to "Springhead Motorshark" and a couple of heavier tracks like "Pain" would have added a little more punch and a higher rating.

22/08/03: Jackie -
Rating: 95
This is their best cd to date! The above review is totally unfair & false. I am not really sure what they were hearing. I think he probably only listened to it once. This is a mature and heavy Britny Fox. If you want 'Bite Down Hard' this ain't it. This is much better. Very diverse, heavy, melodic hard rock. Dont let Melodic Rock's review of it scare you away from checking it out!!!It's much better than they gave it credit for!

22/08/03: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 75
This is a pleasant surprise and a great comeback ! Like Skid Row they have changed their sound, but this time for the good ! Pure, old-fashioned hardrock and gone are, at least mostly, the childish glam influences ! Good one and this beats the new Skid Row by miles !!!

22/08/03: Chris Akin -
Rating: 80
Britny Fox
Spitfire Records

Let's see if my 80s metal history is as good as it used to be. Once upon a time, there was a band called Britny Fox. The band was pretty successful, but more on a 2nd tier level than as one of the major players of the time period. Their debut album achieved gold status, while their second release, BOYS IN HEAT, came close to achieving the same. The biggest knock on this band was that they were a knockoff of Cinderella, which seemed only appropriate considering that members of the band were actually in Cinderella before their NIGHT SONGS release broke them into the big time. The band was also plagued by a lot of bad press generated from lead vocalist "Dizzy" Dean Davidson, who seemed to be one of the more moody players of the time. Davidson left the band to pursue a more southern rock band called Blackeyed Susan. The rest of the band recruited vocalist Tommy Paris, toughened up their sound, and released BITE DOWN HARD; a brilliant release that floundered due to the change in sound and the beginnings of grunge, but that has grown to be considered the classic release in the band's catalog as the years have gone by. Following came a 10 year "hiatus" where the band did other projects and seemingly was done.

That's probably accurate, or as close as someone who hasn't followed them too closely can get. Britny Fox regrouped in 2000, did some touring around, released a great live album, and then got the creative urges flowing to record a new album. That album is SPRINGHEAD MOTORSHARK, and it capably picks up where BITE DOWN HARD left off.

Kicking off with "Pain", you can't help but notice how strong this band still sounds. A heavy rocker, "Pain" shows that vocalist Tommy Paris has lost nothing, and the band have gained a cohesiveness from the last few years of touring and getting their "band legs" back underneath them. Throughout the CD, they go through the emotions that a band of their ilk normally does - rock, passion, softness. They show some different things on SPRINGHEAD MOTORSHARK that are new to the least new from where we last heard from them. A very bluesy guitar tone dominates songs like "Freaktown", as well as a crawling vocal from Paris that sounds at once new, but has a different flavor than he previously showed in the past.

For the most part, SPRINGHEAD MOTORSHARK is what you would expect from Britny Fox, which is a good thing. The acoustic, yet uptempo "Is It Real" is one of this band's better moments ever, while other songs like "Sri Lanka" show how much this band has matured over the years. Musically, it's solid, and performance-wise, no one has lost a step. Guitar player Michael Kelly Smith can still bring the goods, and his '80s metal vibe is as addictive as ever. His roaring sound is very evident on the very classic Britny sounding "Far Enough." Bass player Bill Childs and drummer Johnny Dee make up what would have to be considered a simplistic rhythm section, but they capably carry the bottom end of each song and keep you in tune with Paris and Smith on songs like "Lonely Ones". Throughout the course of SPRINGHEAD MOTORSHARK, Britny Fox proves that the times may have changed, but they still know how to make appealing music.

Having always liked this band, it's good to see that they didn't come back with any aspirations of "fitting in", and just went and recorded an album that will appeal to themselves and their longtime fans. Some new fans may come, but this album is exactly what those who waited for 12 years had hoped for. More bands should follow this pattern vs. that followed by acts like Warrant, Slaughter and the like, who saw their careers go to Hell when they tried to adapt their winning formula. While it's not going to be a return to the top 20 charts for Britny Fox, it's a solid effort that fans will definitely dig!

Chris Akin

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